Jaipur: Rajasthan government said on Tuesday it will restart the scheme of "free pilgrimage train" for the senior citizens from early next year.
"Devasthan department has sent circulars to all 33 district collectors to work on free pilgrimage plan by collecting names of deserving pilgrims (only senior citizens) as the state government would start the scheme next year, most likely in January", Minister of State Otaram Dewasi said.
"We are going to have meeting with the NW railways authorities later this month to finalise the plans," Dewasi said.
After coming to power in November last year, the Vasundhara Raje government had suspended the pilgrimage scheme to be reviewed later. The suspension faced opposition Congress' criticism.
In previous Congress regime, about 5,000 to 7000 pilgrims availed the free pilgrimage, according to the minister.
"This time the state government plans tentatively to run trains for about 10,000 pilgrims in phased manner, only senior citizens, if all goes well," he said.
Ten popular pilgrimage cities including Puri, Gaya, Rameshwaram, Vaishno Devi, Tirupati, Varanasi, Amritsar, Dwarkapuri, Bihar Sharif and Shirdi would be on pilgrimage map, he said adding travel itinerary may change as per the requirement.
According to MoS, the department is also contemplating a package of free boarding, lodging and road travel to the beneficiaries.